DEBUT EP FROM the happy problem OUT TUESDAY, DECEMBER 2 at CD Baby and online! 

Monday, December 8th, 2008 10:30 PM
the happy problem
The Scene
806 E Colorado Blvd.
Glendale, CA 91205
Price: $3 



Yes, here we are in December.  And to write to you, I just set my iTunes on “Shuffle” and hit Start, and guess what popped up?

“Hello Dolly” from – you guessed it – “Hello Dolly!”

Oh yes, while I may be a newly-minted punk-rocker on the outside, I am still a middle-aged gay man on the inside.

I’ve memorized the entire thing.  And now as I type this, the crimson-suited waiters are forming their kick line, and Babs Streisand (“Dolly”) is swaying back and forth in her dazzling, curvaceous glittery gold evening dress.  Gloved arms flowing softly to the sides, feathered headdress wafting in the air above her perfectly sculpted macrame hair-do.

“Dolly’l never go away, Dolly’l never go away, Dolly’l never go away agaaaaaiiiinn…”

Yes, I own this movie.  I OWN IT.  And I only own three movie musicals – if you count “Purple Rain” as a movie musical, that is.  Otherwise, I only own two – “Hello Dolly” and “Fiddler on the Roof.”

Oh, don’t even get me started with “Fiddler.”

BUT mostly I’m excited about the fact that we are officially releasing the DEBUT ALBUM from the happy problem TOMORROW! 

(I am the segue Queen, people.)  (Or not so much.)

Yes, just in time for Christmas, you can now get five completely addictive, punky, spunky, rebellious, and cutting new SONGS from the greatest band in the world!  (In my opinion.)  We don’t wear gold ball gowns, we don’t have kick lines, and none of us is gay that I know of, BUT we rock the house all the same!

You can purchase as many copies of said album as you like at  You can also go to iTunes and try to find it there!

“Try” to find it, Sam?

Yes, well, you see there was a slight problem with the whole iTunes thing so it *might* not actually be up there yet tomorrow.  It IS up on Amazon mp3, LaLa, Rhapsody, and many more internet sites, but not so much the iTunes…  Apparently, I was supposed to actually hit SEND when I was submitting the album a few weeks ago – it’s been waiting in the bullpen, ready to charge out and attack the internet in all its pop/punk glory for quite some time now.  I just never released the gate.



Click this one to see something totally unrelated...

Click this one to see something totally this one.


This is why musicians try to find people to manage and work FOR them.  So we can get on with the happy business of song writing and guitar practicing and band bonding, while other people much more capable than we are busy posting tour dates on the web and coordinating album releases.

Excuses, excuses.

Yeah, sorry about that one.  So just keep checking iTunes for the album – think of it as a happy surprise the day it actually shows up!  Everyone likes surprises, right?

Don’t answer that.

And coming up, we have a couple more West Coast shows, in Glendale and Anaheim, so if you’re in our ‘hood please check us out!  We just might be rocking a Madonna song.  (Then again, we might not.  There is currently a debate raging amongst the band on this very topic.  Like, if you cover a Madonna song, is that ironic enough to be cool?  Or is it just sort of bar-mitzvah-ish.  And in that case, isn’t being bar-mitzvah-ish kinda ironic and cool too?  Or is the whole thing just cover-bandy and not cool?  And can Sam Shaber really sing the words “Some boys try and some boys lie but I don’t let them play-ay” with a straight face?  And if she sings it with a giant smirk is that ironic and cool?  Or is the whole thing just embarrassingly off-target for a cynical pop/punk outfit?)

So no guarantees on the Madonna thing, but I swear the rest of the show will be awesome.

And now, as it is December, the end of a loooong, emotional, inspirational and aggravating year, I feel the need to leave you with one of my favorite things – a LIST!  Oh yeaaahhhh, boyz.   Sometimes I talk about what I’ve learned over the year, sometimes I cite the greatest diners in America, sometimes I just spew random items from my consciousness.  But this year needed something extra special, so I’ve decided to look back, waaaay back, like YEARS back.  (Drum roll…)  And now, I shall share with you a LIST of my Strangest (and pretty embarrassing) Shaber Childhood Moments!

Yes, at this nostalgic time of year, I feel it is appropriate to share with you some of the finest childhood moments of Sam Shaber.  Because I think only about three of the people on this list could possibly have been there, (hi Mom), so why should you all be deprived, eh? 

Here goes.

Stunning Self-Portrait

Stunning Self-Portrait


1.  As some of you may know, before I became the huge rock star you see today, I was all about the acting.  I don’t think I’ve retained one ounce of what I ever learned about the very complicated business of becoming someone else on stage, but as a kid I was very versatile, playing Adelaide in “Guys and Dolls,” Jesus in “Godspell,” a sickly whore in a one-act by Tennessee Williams, and even a circus performer in “Barnum.”  (That was at camp.  I didn’t have any lines, but I got to wear a sequined leotard and climb a rope at the end of the show to be swung violently around by my ankle while singing “Join the circus like you wanted to when you were a kid…”)

But perhaps the highlight of my career came in second grade when we did a play from the children’s book “Mrs. Pigglewiggle,” and I was cast in the starring role, Mrs. Pigglewiggle herself.  The whole class was in the play.  The stage was a foot-high platform set up in the gym, and everyone was positioned on it for the entire show.  I had a special chair stage right, where I sat in my costume that was supposed to make me look like a kindly and elderly potbellied spinster who existed purely for the joy of helping troubled children.  In other words, a pillow tied around my waist, a quilted bathrobe, and a flowery shower cap. 

I had three solos. 

I remember bringing the house down.

Actually, according to my parents, anytime I didn’t have lines in a scene, I sat in my “special” chair, picking my nose in full view. 

2.  I obviously cultivated my love of attention at an early age.  In third grade, on a school trip to Otis Farm in Massachusetts, I really got a good dose of it.  One afternoon, we were loading rocks onto a wagon in imitation of the Settlers clearing their fields.  My friend Sasha heaved a rock so hard that it went up over the wagon and down the other side – on my head.  I got to sit in the front seat as the farmer’s panicked wife drove to the hospital and blood poured out of my skull.  The doctor gave little Sam Shaber four stitches.

When I returned to the farm, everyone in the class had left stuffed animals on my cot and made me Get Well cards.  It was so cool.  Yes, I felt pretty special that night, showing off my specialness by parading around in my hospital gown for the rest of the evening, until Amy Moskowitz told me the boys had been looking at my underwear all night because of the open back.

Sam and Sasha with peanut butter & jelly

Sam and Sasha with peanut butter & jelly


3.  Aside from enjoying special attention, I also was quite the kleptomaniac, although just as some people have greatness thrust upon them, I had a phase of criminal activity thrust upon me, quite by accident.

At the age of ten, I was on a cruise to the Bahamas with my grandparents when I innocently wandered into the ship’s casino and put a quarter into a dollar slot machine.  I pulled the lever exactly once and ten dollars worth of shiny tokens spilled out loudly onto the faded wooden floor.  I remember feeling a wave of totally-awesomeness when I figured out the mix-up, but I kept my little mouth shut and cashed in the tokens, heading straight to the ship’s gift shop where I bought a porcelain jewelry dish with a romantic boy and girl holding hands on the lid.

It really was innocent.  Not like the time I stole twelve packs of brightly colored string from a knitting store while my grandmother was looking the other way.  That was definitely on purpose.  I felt pretty pleased with myself for getting away with that one, until I realized that I didn’t know how to sew, nor did I have any interest in learning.  I just liked the colors.  So  I took the string to school the next day and “donated” it to Ms. Hanauer, the art teacher.

Ms. Hanauer was very touched.

So while evil and misguided at first, the string caper did become well-intentioned in the end.  Not like the time with my very same grandmother at the mall in Cleveland when she caught me shoving a huge pack of Necco wafers into my tiny shorts pocket.

“Samantha!  What are you doing?”

“Ah- I just wanted to see if they would fit.”

She stared down at me disapprovingly through her giant glasses.

Sadly, I think that lame plea was partially true.  I don’t even like Necco wafers.

And really, does anyone like Necco wafers? 

So in comparison to these other incidents of misguided, debauched theft, the “winning” of the porcelain jewelry dish was pure.  And I loved the little girl and boy so much.  They sat together on a log and even had softly-colored porcelain flowers around their sandaled feet.  I couldn’t believe I was actually getting to pick out and pay for something that beautiful by myself. 

But I’m not ten anymore and now the lid has been dropped so many times that the little boy’s face is cracked off and the happy dog has lost its tail and a piece of its ass.  Still, it’s a good place to keep push pins.

4.  Lastly, and having nothing to do with the Christmas spirit, I will share a heart-warming tale of childhood exotic dancer impersonations.

At the tender age of five, my friend Sasha, (the one who would later throw a rock on my head in Massachusetts), often came over for play dates in the afternoons and we would put on bathing suits and head into the living room to dance.  (They were the closest thing we had to leotards, I guess.  Plus I always got to wear the one with a giant flower sewn to the shoulder.)  My parents had the furniture arranged in a basic circle – the sofa along one side, two arm chairs at angles across, and two footstools which could be moved to round out the circle.  There was also a stereo and an antique liquor cart with colorful bottles of forbidden stuff.

We would put on Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, or sometimes Bert ‘n Ernie Sing-A-Long, (just for the heightened sexiness, obviously), and dance around in the middle of the circle, throwing what we imagined were sultry looks in the direction of the sofa and chairs, where we pretended rich businessmen were seated, watching us.

Are you scared, now?  Because I am.  And a little nauseous, too.

Sasha and I have since discussed these distant afternoons with puzzlement.  We know the whole game just started out as an excuse to put on our bathing suits in the winter afternoons and dance around.  But somewhere along the way, this disturbing addition of leering, alcoholic businessmen came into the picture.  We would saunter over to the antique cart and repeatedly “refill” their imagined glasses and then saunter back to deliver them, wiggling our five-year-old shoulders suggestively.  I think we even took turns dancing solos for the guys.

Thank god my parents didn’t have a pole in the middle of their living room.  Gross.

And those are just some of the highlights of my youth – ahh, explains a lot, eh?  Now that I have truly disturbed you, I leave you to the rest of your holiday season!  Enjoy the new album!  Enjoy the mistletoe and the new year coming (with its juicy new administration – hallelujah, my brothers and sisters), and hope to see you out there!!!

P.S. For those of you steadfast readers who really stayed with me this whole time, here is one last picture for you – consider it a gift to carry you through the holidays…


Just a little guy I met on Hollywood and Vine yesterday...

Just a little guy I met on Hollywood and Vine yesterday...